Monday, October 24, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - October 24

One Must Be Careful of Words

My need for genuine interior freedom is now urgent. Yet this is something I am helpless to enter except through the Cross, and I must try to see and accept the Cross of conflict--to renounce myself by renouncing "my" answers and by restraining my urge to answer, to reply, in order that I may silently respond, or obey. In this kind of obedience there is never a full understanding of what one has to do--this does not become clear until the work has been done.

Viktor Frankl's point that in the camps the prisoners who wanted to keep human had to take on their suffering itself as a task (individually and together) in order to give it meaning.

I have used a lot of existentialist terms. I can already see how nauseated I will be with them when they become vulgar currency (commitment, authenticity, etc.), and they are already vulgar. I am nauseated by the Secular City syndrome. But forget it--in a year there will be another nausea. What is the use of being in the silence of true words and letting in this noise? Yet I do not quite see how to manage the situation. With patience, it will arrange itself.

For me--the betrayal I have to look out for is that which would consist simply in attaching myself to "a cause" that happens to be operating at this time, and getting involved, and letting myself be carried along with it, simply making appropriate noises from time to time, at a distance.

End of 1965, V.342-43

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